The Hill is reporting, “[t]he White House said Wednesday that recent court decisions have demonstrated to Congress that the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” law will soon end — it’s just a matter of how.”
But in the next line they say, “White House press secretary Robert Gibbs acknowledged the Justice Department is preparing to appeal a court’s decision against the law preventing gays from serving openly in the military, but said President Obama is still committed to ending the policy.”
“This is a policy that is going to end,” Gibbs said. “It’s not whether it’s going to end. It’s about the process.”
CNN states, “The Obama administration is expected to appeal as soon as Wednesday a federal judge’s ruling that halted the Defense Department from enforcing its policy that bars openly gay people from military service, according to senior administration officials familiar with the government’s plans.”
Then adds filing an appeal “could happen in the next day or two.”
The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld shares this ping pong match from a White House press briefing today:
Reporter: Can the president simply instruct the Justice Department not to appeal this ruling?
Gibbs: Again, I’d refer you to the Department of Justice on some of the legal ruling questions.
Reporter: Is this the way he’s been reaching out, though, to Justice on this?
Gibbs: I assume counsel has been in contact with Justice and DOD since the ruling came out.
Reporter: The president has the final decision, right?
Gibbs: The president — the president I believe does. Again, I will check with — you should check with DOJ just in terms of, again, of filing decisions.
Reporter: I just mean from your conversation with the president, isn’t it clear to you that he has the final decision on this?
Gibbs: Well, again, the president — and the president believes that it should end. We have to figure out an orderly way for it to end.
Reporter: But I mean the final decision on what to do in this particular case. He has the final decision there, right?
Gibbs: Again, I would talk to the counsel.
Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin had this reaction:
“Today, Defense Secretary Robert Gates declared that a federal court’s injunction of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ would have ‘enormous consequences for our troops.’ Secretary Gates added that permitting gay and lesbian troops to serve openly ‘is an action that requires careful preparation and a lot of training.’
“With all due respect, Mister Secretary, implementing repeal of DADT is not difficult, and you should stop saying that it is. Indeed, there were no reports of enormous consequences for the troops yesterday after the ban was suspended. There were no reports of problems today.
As you well know, gays and lesbians are serving honorably and openly today alongside their straight peers. For this reason, and as the RAND Corporation found in 1993, the lifting of a gay ban is not difficult if leaders insist that troops work together. A protracted process involving ‘a lot of training’ is not needed.”
So, despite my own thoughts on a path forward, it looks like the Obama DOJ, consistent with its other actions, will appeal a law their boss, the president, claims to want to repeal.
And all because the president doesn’t want to be the one to stand up and rock the boat.
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